My desktop computer often loads Web pages much slower than my MacBook Pro, both through the same WiFi network.

I measured (for 2.4GHZ network with WiFi Analyzer) the signal drops from -30dBm to -60dBm when I move from WiFi router to where my desktop compter is located.

This is probably because:

  • the computer is on the floor under the desk
  • with WiFi antenna on the back directed to a metal radiator
  • the WiFi router is in another room.
  • a lot of my neighbours are using 2.4GHZ WiFi networks, probably leading to noise.

I cannot move the desktop onto the desk.

Which of the following solutions would resolve the problem:

  1. Replacing the WiFi card antenna with with a better and on a cable, so it can be placed above the desk?
  2. Replacing the current 2.4GHz WiFi card (Asus PCE N10) with 5GHz one? My WiFi router (Compel CH7465LG-LC, supporting 802.11ac) offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.


I also did tests with InSSIDer and it reported "Low Signal Strength" which confirmed my previous findings. It also warned with "Access Points Support Legacy Data Rates", but I don't think it is root cause of my problem my case, as I don't have many devices in my network to impact my PC. InSSIDer has also reported no problems with WiFi channel: my WiFi router is selecting channels automatically, currently 11, and WiFi adapter listens on the same. There doesn't seem to be any big channel overlap with other networks here:

Channels congestion

  • If your router supports 5GHZ, get a 5GHz WiFi Card. The 5GHz band is less congested and you'll get better performance. That said, you may want to get a USB extension for your new 5GHz adapter to place it above the desk. 2.4GHz, on the other hand is prone to interference below or above the desk. – pythonian Oct 23 '17 at 23:20
  • Imagine a string between the wireless router and the antenna of the desktop computer. What would that string have to pass through? How much metal (including the PC case itself)? – sawdust Oct 24 '17 at 1:45
  • @sawdust It would go through the concrete wall (no metal I guess), warddrobe and then, part of my PC case. – dzieciou Oct 27 '17 at 5:46

Both may work.

Moving the antenna from a poor place to a better one will help with both old system (assuming antenna or desktop could be moved), a new 2.4GHz card and a new 5GHz card.

Moving to a band which is not used by your neighbours will also help. The 5GHz band has lots more options here, but it is worth checking if there are unused bands/channels before you buy anything. InSSIDer worked well for me to test that.

And lastly, it is not all about 2.4 vs 5. A good .n card or a .ac card can help a lot because those cards can do nice tricks which improve reception. for .n this was optional (so some do. Most cheap ones do not). For .ac is is mandatory.

Almost not answered since you seem to ask about wireless, but a wired cable usually beats any wireless connection. Often 100mbit wired beats 300mbit wireless. And a wired network cable is cheap. Even if only used to test that the network is the problem and not something else on the desktop.

  • It's rather about WiFi. I have MacBook Pro using same router through WiFi and it performs much better. Network cable is not an option in my flat. It would go through the middle of the floor :-) – dzieciou Oct 27 '17 at 5:53
  • InSSIDer suggested me two things: 1) Access Points Support Legacy Data Rates, which is not a problem for me, because there are no other devices in my network, and 2) Low Signal Strength, which I know and I must try to increase :-) For 5GHz tests with InSSIDer I would need to have 5GHz adapter in my PC. – dzieciou Oct 27 '17 at 6:58

The first step is definitely to get a good antenna and a cable, so you can move it around. Strength and quality of a Wifi signal can vary a lot even if you just move it a few centimeters, because of interference patterns. This article has an image to give you an idea.

Measurements are not normed, so have to be taken with a grain of salt, but in general a strength at about -70 dB is borderline for data transfer; you'll often get reduced speed at this strength. And the further degradation of the signal because of the other APs on this channel will make things worse.

As for 5 GHz, this will help with channel contention by other APs, but 5 GHz in general has a shorter range than 2.4 GHz, so it might actually be worse.

Try a new antenna first, and see what happens.

  • Thanks. I have also found some recommendations about lifting the router up as one of the lowest hanging fruits. – dzieciou Oct 27 '17 at 10:14
  • Trying to change the location of the router can of course also help - anything that will change the interference pattern. Lifting it up (maybe fastening it on the wall) is often, but not always, better, because there are less obstacles in the other rooms higher up. But like the placement of the antenna, you need to try this out; there's no "golden recipe". And if currently the receiving antenna is between the compter case (metal) and radiator (metal), moving the antenna is the obvious step. – dirkt Oct 27 '17 at 11:11

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